A 2020 study by economists at ICF found that AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs offer a significant return on investment.
Each year, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members serve with thousands of nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations, helping them expand their reach and better meet their mission. The Corporation for National and Community Service provides grants to these organizations, which includes an allotment of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps member positions and partial funding to support their projects and programs.
Voices for National Service – with funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation – commissioned ICF to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps. ICF researched and quantified the economic and fiscal benefits that these national service programs have on their members, society, and the government.
A cost-benefit analysis is an important tool that can establish whether a program is a cost-effective investment by measuring the burden of funding balanced with its positive impacts to various stakeholders.
ICF examined and monetized the benefits to quantify the impact of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps:
- Benefit to Society: The study measured 30 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs and assigned monetary value for outcomes in housing, academic support, public lands work and much more.
- Benefit to AmeriCorps and Senior Corps Members: Service members gain valuable skills, advance their education and careers, increase their earnings, and live healthier lives.
- Benefit to Federal Government: The federal government directly benefits from tax revenue gains and savings because of the impact AmeriCorps and Senior Corps has on society and those who serve. The proactive nature of these programs addresses community challenges early, lessening dependence on other government programs and reducing expenditures in criminal justice, welfare, and public health.
ICF found that national service programs that leverage the skills and talents of citizens to address unmet community needs offer substantial monetary benefits for all stakeholder groups and a significant return on investment. The economists report that for every $1 that Congress appropriates to AmeriCorps and Senior Corps returns more than $17 to society, program members and the government.
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